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St. Lawrence University’s Schuckers receives Fulbright award

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CANTON — St. Lawrence University can boast of another faculty member winning a prestigious award that funds scholarly activity outside of the United States.

Associate Professor of Statistics Michael E. Schuckers was recently selected for a Fulbright award to Finland for the fall 2013 semester.

“Obviously, it is quite an honor,” he said. “From my vantage point, it is a great opportunity to expose myself and my family to a different culture in a different part of the world.”

Mr. Schuckers will be working on statistical modeling of metabolic processes with Marko Sysi-Aho, a senior scientist and team leader in the Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics group at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Espoo, Finland. The facility is the biggest multi-technological applied research organization in northern Europe.

“VTT seemed to have some opportunities and was a reasonable fit for the sort of research that I am interested in doing,” he said. “They are a research organization that functions based upon contracts with companies and grants that they procure, as a consequence, they view themselves as fairly cutting edge and innovative — I will be looking at and analyzing biological data. One of the recent focuses of this lab is metabolic data, which I don’t know a ton about, but I think they’re looking at the speed at which folks process calories.”

Mr. Schuckers joins a growing number of St. Lawrence University professors who have received Fulbrights — over the past seven years, five faculty members have earned the award.

Mr. Schuckers, his wife, Stephanie, a Clarkson University professor, and their children will live in Espoo or nearby Helsinki, Finland for the semester while his research is taking place.

“We do not know one lick of Finnish. That will be something that we will have to learn,” he said. “Perhaps it will be a bit of a challenge for our children, though both Helsinki and Espoo have English-speaking schools.”

Finland’s relationship to the vaunted Fulbright program is part of the reason for the choice in destination, Mr. Schuckers said.

“Finland is a place that had a good deal of Fulbright awards, so there are a good many opportunities in Finland for sort of technical, scientific, engineering type awards,” he said.

Mr. Schuckers is the director of the Martha E. and Gregg E. Peterson Quantitative Resource Center at St. Lawrence. A graduate of Penn State, he earned his master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in statistics from Iowa State University.

Among Mr. Schuckers’ other research interests is the performance of biometric authentication devices, such as fingerprint scanners. He is the co-founder of Statistical Sports Consulting LLC, a firm focused on developing data-based decision-making tools for a competitive edge.

The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board is the president-appointed 12-member board responsible for establishing worldwide policies for the Fulbright Program and for selecting Fulbright recipients. The principle goal of the program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United State and the people of the more than 150 countries that currently participate in the Fulbright Program. Since the inception of the program more than 60 years ago, approximately 300,000 Fulbrighters have participated.

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